Safety News You Can Use- Understanding the GHS – Managing those Safety Data Sheets

Understanding the GHS and the OSHA definition of a Hazardous Chemical.

Hazard Communication continues to be one of OSHA’s Top Ten safety violations over the years. That fact in itself is not surprising given the broad scope of the standard and sheer volume of chemicals in use in various workplaces

What is surprising is the level of misunderstanding concerning various segments of the Hazard Communication Standard. One segment that seems to cause continuous confusion is the definition of a Hazardous Chemical which invariably causes many companies to maintain volumes of Safety Data sheets. This practice could cause unintended consequences down the road.

OSHA defines hazardous chemical per 29 CFR 1910.1200, OSHA simply states a hazardous chemical is any chemical which is a physical hazard or a health hazard. Antifreeze, oil and diesel are at the minimum irritants and, as such, would all fall under the category of “hazardous chemical.” The material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for these chemicals should provide you with the health hazards information and the precautions to take if exposed to the chemical.

The Material Safety Data Sheet now termed Safety Data Sheet is your most important tool in determining how to manage your chemicals within the workplace. The key to this tool is understanding the information provided. Currently the manufacturer is legally required to state on the Safety Data Sheet whether the stated chemical is hazardous by definition of the standard.

This information is vital to correct management of data related to Hazard Chemicals as defined in 29cfr1910:1200.

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